Finally, my tree poem chapbook, baobab girl, is READY. Now to figure out where to send it. It has 16 poems in it, nine of which have already been published in some nice places. There were 18, but I had to ditch frangipani and willow – I don’t where they thought they were going. I also abandoned the idea of titling each poem only with the English name/Latin name of each tree (which became dull, frankly). Coming up with new titles was fun, but exhausting, and I know it will result in people reading some of the poems and going, wait, this was a poem about a tree? To which I will respond: YES. They are ALL poems about trees! (In a way.)
So glad to feel that’s done, done. I have this primal urge to clear the decks, get the old stuff out, leave space for the new.
What is sadly the final issue of the Salt River Review is up.
I have two tree poems in it, thorn and baobab. So glad to see them find a home, especially the latter because of the baobab girl, who haunts me still.
Lots of wonderful work in this issue, so check it out. I especially enjoyed this moment of lyric bitter-sweetness by Ed Harkness.
One of my tree poems, Live Oak, is in the November MiPoesias issue (on page 19). Lots of terrific work in there, but I would direct your attention particularly to Love Your Son Lady by Bo McGuire, on page 9.
Listen to Bo read the poem. Yikes!
Thanks for bringing us all this great work, Didi.
For Dave Bonta‘s Festival of the Trees for September. This Tree Hugger Central piece may be part of the ongoing tree poem series (two more forthcoming in Salt River Review and another in MiPoesias – yay!), but maybe not, because it’s not about a particular tree.
the forestry student
there is congress in the foothills
the high country in spring
stands open like temple doors and speaks
in clean ways
Douglas fir and Ponderosa
pine expound here
blue spruce and mountain hemlock
a girl alone walks the pine forest
her familiars at home
are mahogany and teak forest
banyan and jacaranda
in crisp noon she tells
their distant stories
feels the Colorado mountain rooted
beneath her feet and listens
to the strangers
these high copper columns mantled
with living bristle with
call for deep listening
and hearing speech
a song of home rises
off the bright alpine meadow
and a wind-woman in bells drifts through
she makes wheedling arguments in
wind-ridden voice but the girl
shakes her head
and walks on
naming each new tree
with all the nerves in her hands
with all the meaning in her voice
Here, over at Eclectica. Yew, Ash and Frankincense.
Some really good work in this issue, including some awesome artwork – check it out!
Why is this tree on my tree poem list? What am I thinking?
How can one possibly write meaningfully about a symbol so steeped in religio-politico-historical steepedness without getting sucked into that steepedness?
The fact is, I don’t want to put politics in my poetry, I just don’t.
More from others here, from a previous Ten Questions series on the role of the poet.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Very helpful, Psalm 92.
tonight may be the night I write a tree poem that’s going to hurt. weep and write, write and weep.
Two tree poems accepted by the very cool Salt River Review for its fall issue – thorn and baobab.
SRR published my poem our mother in its Spring 2008 issue. A seminal poem for me at the time – it seemed to pull together and make sense of a whole bunch of identity and other issues suddenly, just like that. I was grateful to it.
I have the yew approach, now to see if I can pull it off. It has eyeballs and missing hands in it.
Cedar, sequoia, sycamore, teak, willow, yew. Six more to get down on paper before full overall revision can start. I know where willow will be set, but not the approach yet. Dithering on cedar – it has to be Cedar of Lebanon but that’s such a complete dense muti-faceted theme in itself – how to handle it? Glimmerings on teak, but nothing on the rest yet.
Ick. I’m taking the banyan off the list of tree poems. That is one creepy tree.
frankincense getting the help it needs, I think it will be ok. Which one next and what approach?
Mangrove went well, but frankincense is acting up. I know why, but that doesn’t make it any easier to fix.
OK! I’ve made my list. There are 24 trees on it. Went scrounging into the archives and find I have already written eight of them by accident! One third done before I’ve even started.
I’m stoked. Writing about the mangrove today.